Sunday, October 25, 2009

Food is Love

I have been realizing over time that my love of cooking is really a way I show my love to family and friends. I love to prepare food that my family will enjoy and appreciate. When I don't feel like cooking I don't. There are times when I have worked all day and I'm not the least bit interested and thankfully my husband is usually able and willing to cook a meal. He has certain dishes he is good at making and he also enjoys cooking.

I guess I consider it a labor of love. It is also a way to express my self creatively and try new recipes. Some will become part of my repertoire and other not so delectable creations will be abandoned. Not everything has to be from scratch. There is nothing wrong with taking a few shortcuts. If company is coming though I tend to go all out and often times cook too much food but then there are always leftovers to pick at for a few days.

I don't enjoy the cleanup from one of my cooking sessions but dirty pots and pans have to be dealt with. Actually, I'm a clean as you go person so I try not to let things pile up if possible.
Using a microwave is not cooking, it's reheating. Opening a can of something is not cooking. I confess I keep some frozen entrees in my freezer as backup especially when I don't feel like cooking.

People rave about my spaghetti sauce and I will make a large batch and freeze some of it. I do not have one of those large freezers so I am somewhat limited by the space I have in our regular freezer compartment. Sometimes I will bake ahead for the holidays but have to be strategic about the space available.

I like to make a pot of chili, including potato skins and chicken wings for the Super Bowl. Sometimes though I don't like to repeat myself so I'll go with crab cakes and Jambalaya.
At Christmas I tend to cook a turkey with all the traditional side dishes especially since we are usually away at Thanksgiving so I have to make up for that (according to my husband). I'm the only one that likes home made cranberry sauce but I make it anyway. I love to bake some holiday pies but I am not proficient at making pie crusts so I have a shortcut with a boxed mix crust.I usually make an apple pie and also blueberry and pumpkin. My holiday fudge has improved over the past couple of years.

This past weekend the youngest daughter came home for a few days visit and she jokingly complained she tends to gain weight whenever she comes home so she is glad she doesn't have to live with us anymore or she'd be "huge". I cooked chicken enchiladas which I have made on several occasions and people always seem to like that dish. I do not make it overly spicy but my husband splashes on all kinds of hot sauces. I also baked some chocolate chip cookies and an apple pie. We had some guests for Sunday brunch including blueberry muffins, and chocolate chip pancakes. Now I have a refrigerator full of left overs which we will probably be eating a few days this week. I just do not like to waste food.

I think I will probably take a few days off from cooking.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall Season

If I were a poet I would scribe an ode to fall, but alas rhyme is not one of my explicit talents. I enjoy the ride to work everyday observing the changing colors of the leaves, vivid orange, fiery red, dazzling yellow. Sometimes I've let my attention wander to the vistas of the fields and stand of trees showing off their plumage of blazing hues along the sides of the road. I think the deer are in cahoots with fall because they are leaping and running all over the country side as I make my may to and from work. There are wild turkeys strutting their stuff across the nearby landscape. Unfortunately though there has also been momentous amounts of "road kill", little creatures mashed into the pavement who didn't quite make it across the road.

The smell of fall is unique. Not quite the odor of dying vegetation, but a crispness in the air, frost's harbinger signaling time to rake the leaves and bring in the lawn furniture. Bright orange pumpkins, hearty mums set out on the front porch welcoming visitors to hearth and home.The near naked trees no longer hiding the house from the street. Soon it will be time to forage for the snow scraper and shovel in anticipation of the first early warnings of winter.

Regretfully, there are some less hearty souls afflicted with the seasonal pattern of depression who look upon fall as the precursor of winter and all the challenges of frigid temperatures and the falling of snow. Either way it's time to snuggle up to the wood burning stove and reclaim the corduroys and sweaters packed away in their plastic bins in the attic.

The children are now all grown up and I miss so much the excited preparations for Halloween. I so enjoyed planning and helping make the costumes, Freddy Krueger, witches and ghosts and of course a skeleton. Now all I have are pictures and remembrances of trick or treat.

When I was a kid, I harbor fond memories of our families and neighbors efforts raking the leaves. My intent was always to build a large enough pile to jump and roll around in. My parents would burn the piles of leaves at the curb in front of our house and I can still recall the scent of the burning leaves and my friends and I nearly scattering the orderly piles by our playing and then having to scoop them up again so they could be incinerated. The smoke never seemed to bother my eyes, instead enjoying fantasies of sending smoke signals to the Indians.

It's time to drag out the crock pot and concoct a hearty stew or soup. A little baking will be done and the confections frozen for the Thanksgiving holiday. The warm heat from the kitchen stove will be comforting as the nights begin to grow chilly and no complaints about there being brownies or muffins to eat.

Fall is the season that is a prelude to the long cold winter. A time to read books, sewing projects and of course free time to devote to the technological muse of the computer.